I read a couple of articles this week that referred to “Self-Care Days”. Basically, “Self-Care Days” are like “Mental Health Days”, but the re-wording removes the implication that one’s mental health may be affected leading to the need for a special break. I believe that everyone needs a day once in a while where you can leave responsibilities behind, like an escape, treat yourself to some TLC, and have fun in exactly the way you choose. So often people that are considered well don’t give themselves such a treat.
For some, having a “Self-Care Day” home alone (without children and/or spouse) can provide a particularly special freedom. It is ideally a day when you leave your laptop at work and have no appointments on your schedule. It’s hopefully a day you concentrate on making yourself experience pleasure, relief, and “me” time. Maybe monitoring phone calls instead of picking them up. Telling your kids or spouse to only call in case of emergency.
What a person does for themselves on a “Self-Care Day” is a personal choose. For one person it could be going to the spa for a massage and facial. For another, it could be going for a walk or to the YMCA for a swim, followed by a coffee and cookie at the café with a good book. Or perhaps it could be something more urgent (like a doctor’s visit) that you’ve been putting off repeatedly, but finally convinced yourself to do once and for all. Keep in mind that that might rather be a candidate for a personal day vs. a “Self-Care Day”. Either way, making yourself pick a day you block off on your calendar is a good step in self-care.
When and how many “Self-Care Days” are taken can be up to you. Maybe a day is truly needed in the midst of a chaotic work period. Maybe some people are willing to dedicate a few or more vacation days per year to give themselves some short work weeks by taking off a few Fridays.
I happen to have a mental illness, so have taken several “Mental Health Days” in the past. Generally they were quite necessary in order for me to help curb a developing depression, calm stress that could lead to mania (I have bipolar disorder), or take time to work through current anxiety. In these cases, some mental strife was already present. The “Self-Care Day” in my view, is a bit different. It is a day when you strengthen yourself and wellness further, find that extra little bit of joy and pleasure that has been hard to grasp, or relish your own individuality that seems blurry amidst the you that is so deeply involved with family and/or work.
Have you ever taken a “Self-Care Day” as I described? What did you do? Or what would you want to do on such a special day?